We celebrate 40 years of the Skoda vRSTo many, the birth of the Skoda RS badge – or vRS, as it is known in the UK – can be traced back to the turn of the new millennium. But the sporting arm of Skoda has a history stretching back much further than the arrival of the Octavia vRS in 2000.

It was in 1974 when the RS badge first adorned a car, with the 180 RS and 200 RS models produced as a direct result of Skoda’s desire to challenge for motorsport honours.

After just six months of preparation, Skoda launched three sports models, one 180 RS and two 200 RSs. They competed in June of 1974 and represented the Czech brand’s debut in top class rallying.

Skoda Octavia vRS long-term review – new arrival

In 1975, the 200 RS spawned the 130 RS, which itself signalled the start of six years of motor racing for Skoda. The 140hp, 1.3-litre, rear-wheel drive Skoda became a legend of the racing and rallying scene during the late 1970s, including a double victory in the 1977 Monte Carlo Rally in the cars up to 1300cc category and victory in the 1981 European Touring Car Championship.

Production ceased in 1981, essentially mothballing the Skoda RS badge for the best part of two decades. But as Jarvis Cocker must have said to the Skoda board, let’s all meet up in the year 2000…

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